Too Simple Skepticism

Over at Bitchspot, a blogger named Cephus has been fisking my About Me section (which I'll get around to updating soon) to try to spot the roots of my errors.  I'm not really interested in counter-fisking, but right near the end, Cephus cogently summarized an argument I've seen elsewhere, that I'd quite like to address.  I'm the double-indent, Cephus follows.So welcome to the conversation. Play nice, but play to win. And don’t be afraid to show your hand. If you’re doing someone a service by … [Read more...]

Happy Birthday, Mr. Turing

1 It's Alan Turing's birthday!  Google has a nice outline of his life and work for you to check out, and a ribbon-style Turing machine on the homepage that lets you get an idea for how to do read/write instructions.  (I got sloppy (I've only got so much time in theis Starbucks) and accidentally programmed an infinite loop, but luckily Google made sure to include a break).  10 The definite highlight of my first CS class at college was finding out we would write a r … [Read more...]


downed tree

This is the view from my porch:This isn't an Andrew Sullivan game to guess where I live.  This is the reason I have no power or internet and probably won't until Monday.  So be extra-specially patient if your comments get stuck in the spam filter.  Also, please understand that even when my power comes back on, I won't be responding directly to emails and comments that ask things like "Why Catholicism of all religions?"  I know everyone is interested in that question, so I'll eventually be pos … [Read more...]

A little about the queer stuff

I had some major qualms about talking to a writer for the Blaze, but I remembered the byline from a pretty good interview with Todd Stiefel (a major atheist philanthopist), and I liked the questions that Billy Hallowell sent over.Now seems like a pretty good time to mention that talking to someone doesn't mean I'm endorsing them.  I generally find it easier to thrash out and clarify my ideas when I've got an interlocutor to play off of, so I've done some chatting with people who seem like … [Read more...]

7 Quick Takes (6/22/12)

bread sunflower seeds

--- 1 --- All things considered, it hasn't been that rough a week.  But if I decide I need a break, I know what I'm going to do instead: How does the US Army know if its less-than-lethal armaments are effective without being deadly? Live fire training exercises employing a mob of volunteers, of course.That's right, if you are over 18 and live in the greater New Jersey area, you too can get $20/hour to be whacked with batons and shot with rubber balls! The testing takes place in a … [Read more...]

Math-Related Prayer Hijinks

I like praying the Liturgy of the Hours because, at a bare minimum, it gives me something to say to God.  Not just the words of the prayers but, basically, "I'm really grateful for prayer traditions because I'd pretty much suck at having to make all this up on my own."  Instead of just being grateful for language period, it's kind of like being grateful for slang -- the shared set of references that characterize a relationship or a community.The trouble is, that I haven't been praying for v … [Read more...]

2012 Ideological Turing Test [Index Post]

In the summer of 2012, I repeated my spin on Bryan Caplan's Ideological Turing Test.  The standard Turing Test challenges programmers to see if they can write software that can imitate human conversation.  Some people think this is a reasonable proxy for machine intelligence, but they should probably read more about Monte Carlo Markov chains.  The Turing Test is a pretty interesting test of how we think humans talk, though.  Programmers have to study it more deeply in order to simulate it.So … [Read more...]